Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Published by Balzer + Bray on October 1st, 2013
Amazon | B&N
Before: Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he's never seemed to notice that Reena even exists until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated-and pregnant-Reena behind.I'm hesitant to pick up hardcover books because of the price and also if they're really popular. I never seem to fall into the books that everyone seems to enjoy. However, How to Love surprised me.
After: Almost three years have passed, and there's a new love in Reena's life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena's gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she's finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn't want anything to do with him, though she'd be lying if she said Sawyer's being back wasn't stirring something in her. After everything that's happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?
How to Love switches every other chapter from Before, to After. Before is when Reena first meets Sawyer, the drama in between, and how she becomes pregnant. After is Reena's life with her child, her heartbreak and the happenings that come when Sawyer returns after disappearing for two years.
I can't say I've read a novel with two perspectives like these, and when I realized what they were, I was wary. But this book did not disappoint. Both perspectives were amazing and I never leaned towards liking one more. Before Reena is a naive teenager, and After Reena is a mature, adult mother. Though the same character, the changes in Reena are perfectly done, and the end of each chapter had me excited for the next one in that perspective.
Though Reena's life felt really real and her character was someone who I sympathized with, I had trouble feeling that Sawyer was believable. There are times when he is so sweet and I love him but his personalities in both perspectives aren't consistent. Also, Allie's character wasn't prominent throughout the book like I thought it would be. When a character's death has an impact on the MC, it shouldn't be a touch and go situation. It should provoke thoughts, emotions and sometimes actions. I didn't think that happened.
While reading, I couldn't put this book down and annoyed those around me who wanted to talk to me. It was a great, wholesome read and is now one of my favorites despite it's flaws. For a standalone book, it ended wonderfully, and the whole book kept me pulled in with each and every word.